Before I get to the countdown, I probably should clarify the process by which I arrived at said list. First, I eliminated the really obvious: writer. I know you’re going to cry “bias” [Ed. note: or just “Huh?”] but I don’t care. Hands down, sexiest occupation ever. Plus, a writer can make anything and anyone seem awesome, even psychologists. But it doesn’t make the cut because it fails to meet the very first criteria for the list: it’s a ‘job’ I’d love to have in real life. Second, I eliminated a whole bunch of other eligible occupations on various (admittedly rather arbitrary) grounds:
– too obvious (rockstar; archaelogist)
– too gory/smelly (anything to do with forensics)
– wrong century (personal detective, because this ain’t a Sherlock Holmes world anymore; composer; encyclopedist; seafarer; royalty)
– morally questionable (criminal mastermind)
To sum up, my list comprises those occupations which best meet the following criteria: (i) job I would never want to have in real life, and (ii) job I would love to have if I lived in an entirely fictional world. Obviously, it’s a totally subjective list; all “top 5” lists are, no matter what the editors of Maxim magazine try to tell you. Feel free to play along at home.
5. National Geographic photographer. Is this even an actual occupation? It doesn’t matter. Every time I open a NG magazine, I so desperately want it to be. But it probably involves a lot of waiting around, sleeping in tents, and getting bit by various insects. Also, it probably doesn’t involve wearing Ralph Lauren’s safari-inspired collection, much as I might hope otherwise.
4. Fighter pilot. I know what you’re thinking: Top Gun, right? Wrong. Fighter pilot makes the list because of a movie you’ve probably never heard of: Les chevaliers du ciel. Granted, it’s a movie not entirely unlike Top Gun, minus Tom Cruise, plus subtitles. I realize that math would probably put off most people, but I tend to find French action movies highly amusing, especially when they involve Benoit Magimel.* Anyway, the job seems really cool until I remember that I get sick on roller-coasters. And then, of course, there’s the whole going-to-war thing that I won’t even touch.
3. Ethnobotanist. I took a few classes in botany in my undergrad, which led to my reading some of Wade Davis’ work. Suddenly, venturing into the heart of the Amazon rain forest seemed less like a nightmare (good God, just think of the creepycrawlies) and more like a incredibly thrilling adventure. Keep in mind that, as a a kid, I was briefly obsessed with putting together a herbarium. In the summer of ’92, it was all I did. That, and collecting butterflies.* I was kind of a weird kid.
2. FBI agent. This one is kind of obvious. It all goes back to the X-Files. Alien impregnations and similar hi-jinks aside, what could be more fun than traipsing around the country with Mulder and Scully, on the trail of monsters, homicidal maniacs and the occasional vampire? Then there are the FBI profilers, starting with Will Graham in Manhunter all the way down to the gang in Criminal Minds; working with psycho serial killers means there’s never a dull day at the office, right? Then, of course, there’s Agent Booth. If I had to be a guy, I’d want to be that guy.
1. Mathematician. Sure, the most dangerous part of the job seems to be risk of chalk-dust inhalation. But there’s nothing I’d like more than to be a genuine,bona fide know-it-all. This might have been a toss-up between math and physics, but for one thing: Good Will Hunting. Physicists need better propaganda. * According to me. And ‘sexiest’ because, well, what else is a top 5 list going to be?
* See also Les rivieres pourpres II. It’s a pot-pourri of film cliches, stock characters and over-acting (mostly by Christopher Lee), but in the best possible way. Actually, just between you and me, my secret dream is that the French will one day do a re-make of Miami Vice starring Benoit Magimel and Vincent Cassel. Perhaps they might appropriate Monaco for the purpose; I’m not fussy on the details.
* I used a tennis racquet for my needs. Gently. It didn’t seem barbaric at the time.
Back to the post … funnily enough, I still agree with most of my list, although I might substitute “billionaire-by-day-superhero-by-night” as my No. 1 pick. Rich, invincible and brilliant? What’s not to like? Wait, did I say the list was restricted to real occupations? Dang it!
Your turn – what’s your (sexy) top 5?